Monday, 30 July 2007 1:12 PM

PPF Commander Refutes Allegations

The RAMSI Participating Police Force Commander, Denis McDermott, has refuted allegations leveled against the PPF in the manner in which they handled the April riots.

Mr McDermott stated that claims by the World Vision that PPF officers were instructed to shoot people with rounds of 'beanbags' are simply untrue. Mr McDermott, who recently took over command of the PPF from Will Jamieson, said that it was unfortunate to see some local media outlets report the allegations without cross checking first with RAMSI.

Mr McDermott said that PPF did not have such equipment in the Solomon Islands at the time and even if they did, no one within the police would encourage their officers to shoot people in the neck or the back. He says if the media took time to check with RAMSI, they would have been able to tell them that the allegations were not true.

Mr McDermott says the ultimate test of whether the PPF and the Solomon Islands Police Force had acted in accordance with the rules of engagement was the number of casualties suffered by the public during the riots.

He says there was no loss of life during the April 2006 riots and no members of the public were injured. Mr McDermott says in contrast, 40 police officers sustained injuries, some serious.

He says the Australian Federal Police's Professional Standard Unit had also investigated the allegations and found that there was no substance to the allegations.